Inside a Religious, Political, Educational, and Business Empire
By Dirk Smillie
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312376291, 256pp.)
Publication Date: July 22, 2008
Spiritual Street Fighter. Radical Educator. Christian Entrepreneur.
The late Reverend Jerry Falwell was a controversial and divisive religious and political figure whose legacy will long outlive him. Falwell Inc. is the first close examination of how he built his conservative empire, from the inner workings of the fund-raising juggernauts behind his church, university, and conservative causes, to the explosive growth of Liberty University, founded by Falwell to mint conservative lawyers, judges, and politicans. Falwell’s religious ventures are now in the hands of his two very different sons. They are expanding their father’s empire beyond what he ever achieved.
Investigative reporter Dirk Smillie reveals the financial rapids Reverend Falwell and son Jerry Jr. hit when business failures piled up $100 million in debt and nearly sank his school and ministry. Smillie uncovers the extraordinary impact Falwell, in saving his spiritual enterprises, has had on Lynchburg, Virginia, and how savvy real estate investments and relentless fund-raising saved the empire. Falwell Inc. details the spreading influence his legacy continues to exert on our country.
Falwell Inc. is above all an astonishing behind-the-curtains look at a powerful but flawed man and his multimillion-dollar business, political, religious, and education enterprises, by a reporter with unprecedented access to the family.
Dirk Smillie is a senior reporter at Forbes magazine, specializing in investment fraud and family business dynasties. He has written about notorious grifters in the oil, telecom, and wine worlds, and the financial ventures of Deepak Chopra, Marvin Davis, Warner LeRoy, Mexican billionaire Eugenio Lopez, and the Taittingers of France.